Interview: First Man cinematographer Linus Sandgren

Here’s a link to my latest piece for Filmmaker Magazine – an interview with First Man cinematographer Linus Sandgren. The Neil Armstrong biopic was shot on a mixture of Super 16mm, 35mm and 70mm IMAX with many of the effects created practically in camera by placing spacecraft replicas on gimbals in an Atlanta soundstage decked out with giant LED screens. The climactic moon scenes were shot in an Atlanta quarry and lit entirely with one 200K bulb created specifically for the film. Production had only two of the prototype bulbs – one of which blew on its first day of use.

A snippet of the story is below. Also, check out my previous talk with Sandgren about his Oscar-winning work on La La Land.

31 Days of Horror: An alternative Halloween (2018) poster

Halloween (2018) alternative poster by Rahul Jha

(Above) Calcutta artist Rahul Jha’s take on the new Halloween “sequel” – which ignores the previous nine franchise follow-ups and serves as a direct continuation of John Carpenter’s 1978 original. With a production budget of just $10 million, Halloween (2018) earned $77.5 million in its opening weekend, making it the second highest grossing R-rated horror film in history after It (2017).

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31 Days of Horror: Shivers (1975)

Italian poster for David Cronenberg's Shivers (1975)

An Italian poster for David Cronenberg’s debut feature Shivers (1975), which finds the residents of an ultra-modern high rise apartment turned into sex-crazed zombies by a parasite. Shot on Nun’s Island in Montreal, the Canadian film was released in the states as They Came From Within.

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31 Days of Horror – A breakdown of a signature effect from The Blob (1988)

Like John Carpenter’s The Thing, the 1988 remake of The Blob surpassed its 1950s sci-fi progenitor with the assistance of then-cutting-edge special effects. Many of the film’s most memorable gags were courtesy of effects designer Tony Gardner – including a misdirect that finds the ostensible hero, the clean-cut high school jock Paul (played by Donovan Leitch), pulling a Janet Leigh and getting devoured in the first act.

Gardner and his L.A. based company Alterian have provided effects for a host of classic genre films – Return of the Living Dead, Army of Darkness, Zombieland, multiple Chucky flicks – and Alterian’s Facebook page offers up a treasure trove of behind the scenes pics from those projects. Below are a few photos from the aforementioned Paul-melting scene in The Blob, which employed a practical rig for the actor, animatronics, and quarter-scale puppets.

Continue on past the photos to read a detailed description of the effect from Gardner and to watch a clip of the scene.

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31 Days of Horror – On the set of Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell behind the scenes photo by melissa moseley

Protective plastic blankets the crew in preparation for a messy effects shot on Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell (2009), which marked the Evil Dead filmmaker’s return to horror after toiling on his trilogy of Spider-Man films. Photo by unit stills photographer Melissa Moseley.

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31 Days of Horror – On the set of Phantasm II (1988)

Back in July, special make-up effects artist Mark Shostrom posted a series of photos on his Twitter feed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of director Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm II. Below you’ll find a few of those photos, which document the process behind one of the film’s climactic gags.

I’m also posting this to highlight the fact that Coscarelli (Phantasm, The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep) has a memoir out this week titled True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking. Don was the first filmmaker I ever interviewed when he took time, nearly twenty years ago, to do a story for the student paper at the University of Kentucky. I got the chance to talk to him again a few years ago for Filmmaker Magazine to dig into the making of the original Phantasm.

And if you continue beyond the photos, you’ll find a pair of videos in which effects legend Greg Nicotero talks about the making of Phantasm II.